Jesse: As a longtime fan of the NFL, I’ve often wondered, “Why can’t the game last longer and lack any discernible sense of rhythm?” Thankfully, Roger Goodell has come to the rescue, as the traveling carnival known as The Replacement Refs have done a superlative job of stinking up the joint. Thanks to having NFL Sunday Ticket (God I love my wife), I was fortunate to watch games from coast-to-coast marred by constant stoppages, ref conferences and player fights due to referee ineptitude. But remember, Roger Goodell cares deeply about the game and player safety and blah blah blah. This deleted scene from Anchorman sums things up nicely, with Fred Armisen in the Goodell role and Will Ferrell representing the fans. Roger, please stop trying to feed us poop. Thank you.


  • R.I.P. Steve Sabol. Yahoo
  • Brian Orakpo out for the season, making those awful Geico commercials even more depressing. Washington Post
  • LeSean McCoy says a ref told him that he needed McCoy to play well for his fantasy team. During the game. Again, Goodell: Great job.
  • An in-depth look at the Cardinals’ upset of the Patriots. Football Outsiders
  • Redskins fans struggle to adjust to the RG3 Era.The Onion



New York Giants(1-1) at Carolina Panthers (1-1)
Tom: So let’s jump right in here–Eli “Wake Me When It’s the 4th Quarter” Manning vs. Cam “His Teeth Are Whiter Than White” Newton in what’s becoming the new Monday Night Football but on Thursday night instead. How’s that for analysis? What? I have to pick a winner? Oh, sorry.

The Giants defense, which should be formidable, is struggling (again) due to lack of production from the DBs (again). Prince (formerly the symbol) has spent more time on a football field than Prince Amukamara. Carolina got their running groove back with Stewart in the lineup although he didn’t score any TDs and their defense kept the Saints in check last week and looked completely different than the team that lost to Tampa in week 1. The Giants have struggled both games so far and needed an inhuman effort by Eli Manning and an incompetent effort by the replacement refs to win against the same Tampa team. I think I’m leaning toward Carolina here, mainly because they’re at home, and the Giants may have to pass an awful lot again, and sometimes Eli has those games where he can’t help himself but throw 3-4 picks (Peyton seemed to have that brainfart Monday night):
Clint: I am going to take the opposite on this one, Tom. Eli has those games, but he also gets into a rhythm for a few games in a row. Look for him to be on fire after last week, Andre Brown will give the running game a spark that Bradshaw hasn’t been able to yet, and their defense will do just enough to keep them in the game. I do think this can wind up being a huge scoring spectacle though:


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
Clint: The first week Tampa Bay came out with a surprisingly strong defense that looked rock solid. Week two their defense went to hell against a supercharged passing attack, but their offense stepped up and kept them in the game. This week, the defense will eat Romo and stuff Murray while on the road, but not well enough to dismount the cowboys:
Tom: A tale of two teams that looked drastically different in two games, both ironically centered around the New York Giants. By virtue of that, Cowboys > Giants > Bucs, therefore Cowboys. I just dropped some logic on your ass:

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Tom: Two of the three AFC South teams that are looking up at the Texans. The Jags, once again, are an enigma. I think they’re a better team than last year, but they are 31st in points scored in the NFL after two weeks, and if anything, the Colts can move the ball with Andrew Luck. If MJD gets on track, it makes the Jags that much better, but that holdout is still lingering a bit over him. Go with the Colts at home, and see if MJD pops a hammy this week on the turf:
Clint: The easy thing to do is go by the logic that if the Vikings can beat the Jaguars and the Colts can beat the Vikings then the Colts can beat the Jaguars. There is this saying in the back of my head (it is tied to a bad movie also), Any Given Sunday. The Jaguars have a history with the colts. A history of their defense holding the colts at hostage and knocking off many undefeated Manning helmed Colt teams. They play hard in the division and they will see this game as a possibility to gain a foothold on a location other than last. Jacksonville will put up enough of a defense to keep the game close enough to win :

Buffalo Bills (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-2)
Clint: I honestly am flipping a coin on this one. I really think this is up to which Cleveland offense shows up. Both teams are going to have effective running games, but if Cleveland can throw the ball, they come out the winner due to their stronger defense. I just don’t have faith in Weeden though, so I am going with :
Tom: Is there a less intriguing game this week? Only fans in Buffalo and Cleveland will be watching this game with any fervor. This is what I call a “Fantasy Only” game. Which means I would only seek to watch it if I had more than 1-2 fantasy players involved. I said I would not pick the Browns this year (probably) so:

New York Jets (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-1)
Tom: Well, the Jets beat up on an awful Buffalo defense and then came back down to reality when they faced the Steelers D (note: I also am a Steelers fan. Sorry). Not even Tim Tebow could save the game last week. The Dolphins are riding high after beating the Raiders. Like the Browns, I hate to pick the Dolphins to win anything, but I think the Jets defense will give the rookie issues. Sanchez will have dumb plays, but he’ll do just enough to win the game. But they’ll lose the next encounter after they’ve imploded once again later in the season. Sorry Fleed:
Clint: I have to agree with the Jets, even though I would rather see Miami win. Rex Ryan gets to me with all the media attention. To put Tebow there makes it even worse, as they seem less a team than a travelling circus of press headlines. Miami didn’t so much dominate the Raiders last week, as the Raiders sucked more than an industrial strength Dyson. Look for the Jets defense to win this and hopefully no Tebow sightings:

Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-2)
Clint: The Saints couldn’t ask for a more favorable matchup, but the question is whether they actually want to play four quarters of football. They are trying to be the only team in history to not want to play the first two quarters, but ask the other team to take it easy on them so they have a chance to catch up in the last 3 minutes. That strategy hasn’t worked yet this year, but you can’t ask for an easier opponent than the sadly miserable Chiefs who are still searching for their identity :
Tom: Is there another team doing less with more than KC? Embarrassed in two games (granted, both by good offenses), they now face yet another pass, pass, pass team. Although the Saints defense is not great either, post bounty-gate. Saints, possibly by 100:

Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) at Washington Redskins (1-1)
Tom: Am I down with RGIII? Well, you know me. (stolen from Deion Sanders with apologies to Naughty by Nature) The Redskins are actually an exciting team now with RGIII at the helm. Their defense was already pretty good, and now they have an offense that doesn’t drive like a old 4-speed manual that you can’t just quite get into 4th Grossman…sorry, gear. Yeah, they lost to the Rams, but they were in position to tie the game until Josh Morgan let Cortland Finnegan get all Cortland Finnegan on him (this is the same guy that traditional nice/quiet guy Andre Johnson tried to decapitate). Andy Dalton looked good last week, but granted it was the Browns without Joe Haden. I’ll jump on the bandwagon and go with the ‘Skins:
Clint: This is an intriguing game, as before seeing RGIII, I would have definitely given the game to the Bengals, who I think are a hungry cat. The Bengals have been embarrassed year after year in the AFC North, and they smell weakness coming from both the Ravens and Steelers. They are tied 2 weeks in and look like a contender. The Redskins look hungry too, but RGIII will be meeting the best defense he has seen yet, and this will be a good gauge of how he does in the abusive AFC North that they have to go through. I was going to side with Tom, but after the loss of two starting DBs for the Skins, I take the Bengals :

Saint Louis Rams (1-1) at Chicago Bears (1-1)
Clint: Chicago looked like a team of rookies against Green Bay. You would think they would be out for blood this week. I have to side that they are the better team, but Fisher proved last week he can establish the passing game at STL. This game should be close, but I still feel Da Bears will find a way to win :
Tom: his is one of those games…I had a similar feeling with Arizona/New England last week (really, I did). Chicago you would think is the obvious choice. But Fisher and his ‘stache have the Rams defense playing above their heads, and whaddya know, with a run game and some pass protection, Sam Bradford ain’t half bad. Oh, and Jay Cutler is a schmuck. I’ll go against my friend Clint (but no reach around) and choose:

San Francisco 49ers (2-0) at Minnesota Vikings(1-1)
Tom: Have you SEEN the 49ers? Shut down both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford? No mincing with eloquence here. San Francisco. However…with two such huge games behind them, I would not be surprised if San Fran slipped a little here and let this one get closer than it should. But I think Harbaugh keeps them focused and in first place in the NFC North. And West:
Clint: The Vikings without AP at full strength is kind of like your grandfather without Viagra – limp. The 49ers are anything but. I cannot even fathom an upset, though with Jerome Simpson back, the Vikings may make it closer than it should be :

Detroit Lions (1-1) at Tennessee Titans (0-2)
Clint: Last week I tried to make fun of the teams I thought were bad. This week, I should learn not to do it, but the Titans look horrible. How is CJ2k? Can’t bench him when you paid him all that dough, but fantasy coaches everywhere are giving up. It’s not all his fault as Locker needs to establish a passing game so the opposing defenses don’t stack the box, but that’s not going to happen here. Stafford and Calvin Johnson are going to put up some big numbers to rebuild their bond, and make them one of the biggest threats in the NFL :
Tom: Excuse me, I just finished throwing up after watching the Titans’ past two games. I imagine Jeff Fisher must twirl his mustache every time the Rams win and the Titans lose. Keep twirling, baby:

Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at San Diego Chargers (2-0)
Tom: I live in Atlanta and by proxy am a bit of a Falcons fan, FYI. Their defense played magnificently vs. Peyton Manning. Yeah, he came back at the end and made it close, but let’s face it–he’s Peyton Manning. Rivers is no Manning, and he tends to force things a bit, and they’re struggling to find a rushing game without Ryan Matthews. But after their MNF win, Atlanta’s Michael Turner was arrested for DUI, so their power running game may suffer a bit if he’s suspended. I do believe Jacquizz Rodgers is a suitable (and more versatile) replacement. San Diego has actually looked decent so far, but this is Norv Turner we’re talking about. Perhaps the short turnaround and long road trip will tire out the Falcons, but I think between their defense and the new no-huddle all-cuddle Matt Ryan-led offense, it will be enough to beat the Chargers. Also, did you see the MNF game after Ryan slid and his knee brace popped out? Did anyone else think it was a bone when it first happened? *shudder*:
Clint: I live in Atlanta too, but I literally bleed Steelers Black and Gold (I have a tattoo, seriously). I was glad to see Burner live up to his speed induced name, too bad it was after the game. I think Rivers is better than you seem to give him credit for, but I don’t think they have a hope in hell without Matthews. Jackie Battle gave them a boost in the ground attack last week, but it won’t be enough to ground the Falcons:

Philadelphia Eagles(2-0) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Clint: Two undefeated, but ultimately lucky teams. Neither team has been dominant in their wins, but both have knocked many people out of survivor pools this year. I think this contest comes down to the two biggest threats on the field, Vick and Fitzgerald. Whichever defense can contain the opposing star player wins. With Kolb at the helm, don’t look much past Fitzgerald. For some reason the Eagles have vowed to give everyone a chance to beat them, so this should be close regardless :
Tom: The line here shouldn’t be points, it should be how many more turnovers will Vick have? You can go with Kolb and the revenge factor here, but he left of his own accord. That being said, Defense wins games and Arizona’s D is better than Philly’s:

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Oakland Raiders(0-2)
Tom: Does anyone else completely forget about the Raiders from time to time? When I turn on the TV and see them playing, I’m always like, “Oh yeah! The Raiders! How are they doing this year?” And I’m not hating–the NFL needs the Raiders to be a force again and hopefully without Al’s interference now (RIP), they’ll get in gear and and start making some noise again.

Yeah, this game excites me, purely for the fact it’s the old AFL match up of two of the best teams in the 70s. The Immaculate Reception, stick’um, etc. Great memories. But let’s get to the now–Carson Palmer is familiar with the Steelers having played for the Bengals for years prior, and vice-versa for Pittsburgh’s familiarity with his style. The Steelers D looks completely different with Ryan Clark in the defensive backfield, but Polamalu and James Harrison may still be out for this game. The Raiders offense has lots of weapons, and the Steelers seem to be struggling a bit vs. the run lately, and speaking of the run game, they can’t seem to put together a decent Oline and open holes for their RBs and keep Ben upright–I believe he is the most sacked QB since he joined the league. This will be close, and the Raiders will be pissed after losing a game I believe they think they should have won vs. Miami. The Raiders in a squeaker:
Clint: You call yourself a Steeler fan? We have been going with an incomplete safety section the entire year, but barely lost to an almost perfect Peyton Manning on a great team and destroyed the Jets offense. The Raiders got cremated by Miami. They had no running game. They had no passing game and they gave up over 500 yards to a team with arguably one of the most questionable offenses in the league. Even Fleed will tell you that. Oakland wins this over my dead body (BTW, all the sports bars in Atlanta I used to go to were overly crowded with Raiders fans, so I can’t believe you forget about them living here) :

Houston Texans (2-0) at Denver Broncos (1-1)
Clint: This should be a great game. Manning has always had a hard time with the Texans, from when they were in his division. With a new team running under his helm and a miserable road performance, Manning will be out to prove himself. The Texans have one of the best offensive lines in the game, and running backs that can take advantage of that. I am going to side with the home team, only because the air is thin there and otherwise I think both these teams look exceptionally strong :
Tom: I agree that this should be a fantastic game. The Texans are a quietly solid team, and Denver has a great D with an offense that, when it catches up with Peyton, will be pretty spectacular as well. Tough call here. Also, don’t forget that Wade Phillips once was the head guy in Denver. I’ll play Mirror Universe again and go with:

New England Patriots (1-1) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
Tom: If the Pats have shown anything so far this season, it’s that they have trouble with good defenses. Arizona’s offense may not be great, but they have probably a Top 5-7 defense in the NFL. Plus the Ravens are still miffed about losing that AFC Championship game last season, and the fact that they lost to the Eagles (Vick has committed more turnovers in two games than some divisions have combined). I’m still looking for the “new look” Ravens offense to be consistent, but I think it will be more than enough for the Pats “Seems to always be rebuilding” Defense. If you have Tom Brady on your fantasy team and aren’t already frustrated enough, you probably won’t like this weekend.:
Clint: Brady has shown weakness going against tough defenses in any year that didn’t involve the spygate conspiracy. He is inconsistent at best against both the Ravens and Steelers, and because of that this really could go either way. Having to bank on Brady being at his best though or the Ravens playing good enough, I side with Tom and go with the Ravens :


Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Clint: Does anyone think Seattle really has a chance here? I think Rodgers and company had their embarrassment by looking so amateur against the 49ers earlier. I just don’t see that happening again. :

Tom: Russell Wilson is the new Tim Tebow but with actual QB talent. That, however, won’t be enough to keep the Pack down. Jennings and Starks will probably return, and that alone spells doom for Seattle’s D. Pete Carroll will wish he had more USC guys to pay, uh, play for him. HOWEVAH–I do remember not too long ago when the unbeatable Saints rolled into Seattle in the playoffs and were sent marchin’ back to New Orleans with a loss. I do not think that will happen here, though, as Green Bay feels they have something to prove after the beatdown from San Fran:

The Rub

Clint: Hopefully I will do better this week. I now have someone to go against, and all three of us would like to hear your comments in the forums. Thanks for reading.